Chef Nicholas Elmi and his partners in Old City are leading a small surge of new dining options around town.
November is traditionally a busy month for openings as restaurateurs try to tap into the busy fourth quarter.
Elmi (Laurel, ITV) is partnered with Stephen Simons and David Frank (whose empire includes Royal Cantina, Royal Izakaya, and Cantina Los Caballitos) in Royal Boucherie ( "BOO-shree") at 52 S. Second St., in the storefront that was home to the original Rib-It (and much later the notorious Live Bait in the late 1990s). Elmi and chef de cuisine Steve Forte are behind a French-influenced, American brasserie menu in a sexy and low-lit but loud space — designed by Marguerite Rodgers — that has a five-seat raw bar next to a good-size main bar. It opens daily for dinner on Thursday, Nov. 9; lunch and brunch are on the way. A 40-seat second floor "sitting room" — where the restrooms are — is under construction. A roof deck is being constructed off the second floor for next spring.
A few impending and recent restaurant openings of note:
Opening Wednesday, Nov. 8 is The Love, a dramatic revamp of the former Serafina at 18th and Sansom Streets into a low-lit cafe charmer with tufted banquettes and well-spaced tables. Olexy and Starr (who also run Talula's Garden and Talula's Daily) turned to Roman & Williams (Le Coucou, Upland) for relaxed sophistication that extends to the bar tucked cleverly off the main entrance. Chef Joshua Tomaszewski (A Voce in New York) has built an American menu off of seasonal and local ingredients. Dinner daily will be offered at first, followed by lunch and brunch.
Bam Bam Kitchen (31 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore) brings casual Korean dining to the Main Line. Owner Paul Kong, an IT specialist by trade, has a crew executing the favorites in a sparkly-shimmeringly decorated storefront next to the future Ripplewood Whiskey & Craft, a bar with a small stage upstairs and outdoor garden seating out back. The Ripp is due in early 2018.
Andy's Chicken, the Fishtown Korean fried chicken specialist, grand-opens its second location at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 2108 South St.
Jose Garces will open a King of Prussia outpost of Buena Onda, his Baja-style taqueria, on Nov. 24. It's in the Savor section of the mall.
Branzino, the popular Italian BYOB at 261 S. 17th St., is bouncing back from a July 2016 arson fire with a complete renovation. Owner Luan Tota hopes to open in the next six weeks.
Mike's BBQ, from Michael Strauss of Taproom on 19th, is looking at a month or so from opening at 1703 S. 11th St.
TALK, the new new-American spot from Marigold Kitchen's Andrew Kochan, is looking at a December opening.
More details at www.philly.com/mike.